Art Basel Miami Beach opened to VIP attendees for previews this morning with a bang: just inside the west entrance to the fair, at the booth for New York/London dealer Helly Nahmad, is the bright and beckoning Mark Rothko painting Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange), from 1955.
If the piece looks familiar, it’s because it featured in a Sotheby’s New York sale of “Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon” in 2014, when the Nahmad family bought it for $36.6 million.
At the fair it is priced at $50 million. The piece has not yet sold but has garnered interest. Asked about the decision to bring it to Miami, David Nahmad said, “Why not?”
Helly Nahmad added, “We’ve had so much interest in the painting and we thought Miami would be the right venue to show it as opposed to sending out images over email.” He seemed confident that the work will sell.
By ARTnews’s current estimation, the painting is far and away the most valuable offering at Art Basel Miami. Full coverage of the first day of the fair will follow.